§ 34-18-38. Eviction for unlawfully holding over after termination or expiration of tenancy.
(a) If the tenant remains in possession without the landlord's consent after expiration of the term of the rental agreement or after the termination of a periodic tenancy, the landlord may commence an eviction action, which may be filed no earlier than the first day following the expiration or termination of the tenancy. The action shall be commenced by filing a "Complaint for Eviction for Reason Other Than for Nonpayment of Rent," which shall be filed in the appropriate court according to the form provided in § 34-18-56(e).
(b) The summons shall be in the form provided in § 34-18-56(h) and shall specify that the tenant has twenty (20) days from the date of service in which to file his or her answer to the complaint, and that if he or she fails to file his or her answer within that time, he or she will be defaulted. The matter may be assigned for hearing in accordance with the rules of procedure of the appropriate court.
(c) If the tenant's holdover is willful and not in good faith, the landlord may also recover, in addition to possession, an amount not more than three (3) months' periodic rent or threefold the actual damages sustained by him or her, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees. If the landlord consents to the tenant's occupancy, the parties may agree to a definite term. If no term is specified, the term shall be week-to-week if the tenant pays on a week-to-week basis, and in all other cases, month-to-month.
(P.L. 1986, ch. 200, § 2.)